Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Launches Inaugural Production, The Trial, Dec. 17

News   Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Launches Inaugural Production, The Trial, Dec. 17 The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble—the new troupe formed by former Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre stalwarts Craig Smith and Elise Stone—will unveil its first official production on Dec. 17 when The Trial opens at the Mint Space in midtown, 311 W. 43rd Street.

Eve Adamson will direct a cast which features Smith, Stone, as well as Phoenix co-founders Jason Crowl, Michael Surabian and Angela Madden. Also in the ensemble are Karen Case Cook, Jolie Garrett, Douglas McKeowen, Jason O'Connell, Matt Neely, Carolyn Ratteray, Antonio Suarez and Dan Snow. John Lenartz will play the central role of Joseph K.

The Trial, based on Franz Kafka's famous unfinished novel of the same name, follows the hapless Joseph K., who wakes one fateful morning to find he is arrested by unknown forces for an undisclosed crime. He spends the rest of his days hopelessly attempting the navigate the unnamed state's unfathomable legal and bureaucratic system.

Set design is by Robert Klingelhoefer, costumes by Margaret McKowen, and sound design by Ellen Mandel.

For tickets, call (212) 352-3101.

Smith and Stone, who were ensemble members at the Bowery-based Jean Cocteau for a combined 50 years, suddenly resigned from the company last August. Also tendering their resignations at the time were fellow ensemble performers Angela Madden and Michael Surabian and five members of the 11 person Jean Cocteau board. Smith said the Pheonix would be ensemble-directed. "We will be governed by a core group of actors, but there will be one decision maker, who will rotate."

Smith said he envisioned the troupe would stage both classics as well as commission new plays complementary to those classics. The name of the company is reminiscent of the Phoenix Theatre, the trailblazing Off-Broadway company which focused on a mix of classics and new plays, and functioned in a variety of forms from the 1950s to the 1980s.